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Conversations are better with less technology

Conversations are better when less technology is involved.

First of all, talking with others through a screen is a two dimensional experience involving only two senses, and not fully making use of those two either, as the visual and sound quality of video calls are often less than optimal. Until technology is sufficiently advanced that video and sound are indistinguishable from real life, real life will be better.

Second, when I am seeing people face-to-face, anyone having a laptop open or a phone on the table is another opportunity to get distracted. Why even spend time together if you’re not willing to spend your full attention on the other people present? (Multitasking is a waste of time, because you perform both tasks worse than if you were to do either task by itself. If you need to remember things from the conversation, either use a physical notebook or record the conversation.)

Third, any time people get the urge to quickly look something up on their phones such as a fact or an interesting video to share, the conversational quality goes down, because it interrupts the flow and distracts people from paying attention to each other. It’s better to keep the conversation going without introducing technology to it, because everything truly important in a conversation is already present: the people.

Great conversations require you to be present in order to listen to and understand others. Until technology helps us be more present instead of less, conversations will be better without.

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